We all want to live a healthy lifestyle but what does that really mean and where do you start? Living a healthy life will mean many things to many people. We all have different thoughts on what “healthy” means to us. Healthy needs to be something you can do so you feel better mentally and/or physically. It shouldn’t be looked at as a restriction/deprivation. It could be as little as starting to drink more water each day or starting an exercise routine. The hardest part is actually starting and when you do, start with small changes.
Healthy Habits Build a Great Foundation
Each small change you make into a habit will build the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. Make a list of things you’d like to improve or change and then pick one, maybe two to work on. If you pick more than this you may be setting yourself up to become overwhelmed. This may cause you give up before you can make the changes stick.
A healthy lifestyle is not just about eating and exercising, you want to create a healthy mindset too! It’s all about balance and shouldn’t be restrictive or make you feel deprived. If you aren’t sure where to start, here are a few things that helped us get started. I feel these are a good foundation for anyone to start with.
Nutritious “reak” Fast to Start Your Day
Although we set an alarm on weekdays, I’m usually awake before it goes off. On the off chance, we’re asleep still, we don’t hit the snooze button. I’m ready to start my day because I make sure to get an average of 8 hours of sleepy time! If we are doing a shortened eating window, I often have tea and wait till around noon to eat. My first meal of the day is always scrambled eggs or a veggie omelet or scrambled eggs with a side of avocado and organic green tea. On the weekends, when I have more time I enjoy coffee with heavy cream! This protein-rich breakfast keeps me full and satisfied until my next meal. My head is clear and I’m not making bad choices because I’m needing a sugar boost.
Many of us have very sedentary jobs and we do need to move more. Walking is a great form of exercise that you can do just about anywhere and at any time. Make sure to get a good pair of shoes with proper support and add 10-minute segments in when you can. Aim for 10,000 steps a day – I have to work on this one every day due to an injury.
The movement doesn’t have to be an exhausting workout. In the summer I like to ride my bike. Just a leisurely ride around the neighbourhood. Make it something you’ll enjoy and stick to. Try different things too! You may be surprised as to what you’d like. I’ve tried yoga and I’m still on the fence with that one. Picking something that isn’t overly strenuous shouldn’t increase your appetite, so don’t worry about that!
When you think about eating healthier, what comes to mind? Many of us would like to eat more vegetables, and less junk food or less packaged foods. Whatever is on your list of changes, start with one, maybe two things and master those before you move on. Remember, don’t overwhelm yourself and definitely don’t drastically restrict or deprive yourself. This will likely just set you up to binge. Everything in moderation. Expecting to give up say… cake completely sets you up for failure. Maybe try saying you’ll only eat the cake you know is fabulous. Skip the grocery store cake which is usually kind of “meh” to begin with. Eat food that tastes great, don’t just eat it because it’s there. Make your food count – savour and really enjoy it.
What we eat has a big impact on how we feel emotionally and physically. I always said I was a carb addict, and that I could never give them up willingly. Surprisingly, I’ve been able to reduce the number of carbs I eat, and fluctuate daily between 20 – 75g of carbs. I actually feel better, less bloated and no food coma!
Sleep – Part of a Healthy Lifestyle
Sleep … This should be at the top of your priority list. By being well rested, you’ll make better choices throughout your entire day, instead of playing catch-up. Figure out how many hours you need to feel rested (7.5+ at least) and then strive for that each night. If you think you’re too busy for that, you may need to look at your priorities and cut back on your activities. Think about the long haul and where you want your healthy lifestyle to take you.
If I get less than 7 hours, I’m tired, irritable, groggy and consequently don’t make the best choices throughout my day. My willpower can be almost non-existent which tends to increase poor food choices and a lack of motivation.
The overall goal is to build healthier and sustainable habits, one at a time. To keep this from being overwhelming, pick one new habit and start there. Try to remember that you’re not aiming for perfection – I use an 80/20 rule. 80% of the time I’m doing good and the other 20% I let it slide because… life happens. There is no point in beating yourself up. Work at doing better next time!
If you’re struggling with something in particular, I’d love to hear from you! We can talk it out and find a solution!